The Jesuits…God’s Soldiers and Defenders of the Faith

1787 Words4 Pages

The scene that would forever change the world took place on October 31, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany. An Augustinian monk named Martin Luther, in an act of fury toward the corruptions of the Catholic Church, nailed his famous Ninety-five theses on a cathedral door. (1) The Catholic Church was caught off guard and never imagined the force of what was to become the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Church realized that in order to combat and prevent the spread of Protestantism, they not only needed major reform from within but also needed its influence to extend out onto the world. This period of retaliation was called the Counter or Catholic Reformation. The soldiers selected to carry out this mission were the Jesuits, affectionately known as “ God’s Soldiers,” and for good reason.

The Catholic Church needed an elite force, men dedicated to defending the faith, and so when Pope Paul III took control he called forth the Jesuits. The success of the Catholic Church’s Counter Reformation would not have been possible if it weren’t for the Jesuits’ strict military like structure and organization. They regained Church authority, brought back lost souls and spread the gospel into all parts of the world. Their span was remarkable. They have served as urban courtiers in Paris, Peking and Prague. They have served as astronomers to Chinese emperors, mapped large stretches of the Amazon, China, South America, Africa, and even located the source of the Blue Nile. (2)

In this paper I will show why the success of the Counter Reformation would not have been possible without the help of the Jesuits. I will first talk about their unique structure, and organization, then go into the various tools they utilized, which made them so eff...

... middle of paper ...

...: Franklin Watts, Inc., 1981

Schnitzler, Henry. "The Jesuit Contribution to the Theatre” Educational Theatre Journal. 4. 4 (1952), 283-292, (accessed March 31, 2011).

Society of Jesus: “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius." (accessed March 31, 2011).

Steckley, John Jay. "The Warrior and the Lineage: Jesuit Use of Iroquoian Images to Communicate Christianity” Ethnohistory. 39. 4 (1992), 478-509, (accessed March 31, 2011).

Whitehead, Maurice. "To provide for the edifice of learning: Researching 450 years of Jesuit Educational and Cultural History, with Particular Reference to the British Jesuits” History of Education". 36. 1 (2007), 109-143, 35. (accessed April 2, 2011).

Open Document